Two ad reps are better than one

Gorilla Nation, a Los Angeles-based online rep firm, recently partnered with NetWorldMedia, Canada’s first French language Internet advertising network, to expand its North American Francophone network.

The alliance appears to be mutually beneficial. The union boosts the combined network of Gorilla Nation and NetWorldMedia to more than 700 exclusively represented independent Web sites.

“Creating an integrated campaign has been our strength. Now we are able to offer our clients French eyeballs as well,” said Walder Amaya, director of operations for Gorilla Nation Canada. The six-year-old firm, which has offices in L.A., New York, Chicago and Toronto, boasts of an inventory of over 500 English-language Web publishers.

“Several Canadian clients have asked us to make media space available for them in the English language market,” according to Gino Coutu, president and CEO of NetWorldMedia. Founded in 2001, the company has signed up more than 200 specialized sites and Quebecois search engines.

Online reps provide businesses in various industries with ad placement services on exclusively contracted Web sites. Their services usually include extensive research on the appropriate vertical markets, assistance in developing rich media programs, aggregating fragmented Internet audience segments, tracking and analysis of online campaign efforts.

One of the primary challenges of businesses seeking Internet exposure for their brand, according to Coutu, is locating a rep firm that can provide expertise in networks that cross language and cultural boundaries.

He also said some clients of NetWorldMedia indicated they often had difficulty “finding enough alternatives in terms of quality site networks.”

Companies looking for a rep to manage their brand should consider firms that have sites which fit their product, according to Amaya of Gorilla Nation.

“This is very basic – pick a network that can offer the market niche you need, otherwise it’s just a waste of time and money.”

Diversity is fine when going for mass audience, he said, but a successful targeted campaign calls for “deep and specific segments.”

Web sites also need to be properly maintained.

Site design and layout, engaging and relevant content are some of the more crucial elements for a “perfect fit” with the product being advertised. Content also needs to be refreshed often and regularly.

“Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask, would I like to go to this site?” said Coutu.

The numbers of people visiting the site and page views are not enough. Advertisers must investigate how visitors react to a site and its content.

Information must be sought on what sort of people go to the site and what they do there: Do visitors click on the ads? What percentage of ad viewers proceed to research or buy products they see on the page?

“Focus on quality, not quantity,” said Coutu.

A good rep firm should have an extensive marketing force and the technology to back it up, said Amaya and Coutu.

Apart from having teams that identify ideal sites, a rep company needs automated reporting tools that accurately track a campaign’s progress and the consumers’ response to the program.

Evaluation software also helps determine the payment scheme a certain ad should be charging depending on viewer response.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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